Monday, November 28, 2011

Why the caged bird sings!

Here's something cool:

I just had a narrative/story published in the November 16, 2011 issue of The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA.) And yeah, that's kind of a big deal, but that's not the really cool thing to which I'm referring. Nope. That ain't it at all.

This is. 

At the end of my story, there was a little over a half of a page left of blank space so they added a quote to fill it up.  Here's the quote:

"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."

~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)

Now is that rad or what? That THIS--a James Baldwin quote--would be the chosen words to follow something I wrote?  In a medical journal--better yet--The JAMA no less!?

To me? That was an extraordinarily high compliment to have my story inspire placing that quote. And maybe it had nothing to do with my story. But still. It was there. Right next to my story.

Talk about hyped. I was more excited about seeing that than my own article. I don't know. It just felt sort of. . .sort of. . . spiritual to read those words behind my own. Because they resonate with me, and so does the author.

Why, you ask? Because the author of that quote is James Baldwin. James Baldwin, y'all! Unfamiliar? Okay, well check it-- Mr. James Baldwin was the iconic Harlem-based writer whose literary genius inspired the likes of Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. A social activist and fearless, award-winning author who both challenged and moved Ms. Angelou to write her critically acclaimed autobiographical novel "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." A man whose words read like art forms. . . . 


Yeah. That dude. As the chosen person behind a quote in a top-tiered medical journal. Damn.

His words? After my words? Maaaaaaan, that's what I'm talking about.


No relation to Alec or Billy.
In the words of James Baldwin:

“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without
and know we cannot live within.” 


“Not everything that is faced can be changed, 
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  


“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, 
but they have never failed to imitate them.” 


“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”

“The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling
is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, 
is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

“Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.” 


You feel me, now?

Happy Monday, good people. . . . happy Monday indeed.


  1. Very VERY cool. All the way around. Have I already told you I named my daughter Maya after Ms. Angelou?

  2. I read you every day, and I thought this was SO cool. JAMA and James Baldwin no less. You rock, you know?

  3. When things like that happen, it's NO coincidence. CLEARLY, someone (God) is trying to tell you something! At least, that's my take.

    Congrats on the JAMA article!

    PS- Don't forget the little people when you win the Pulitzer, Oscar (screenwriting) , Nobel Prize or whatever other literary prize that's in your future!

  4. AMAZING! and fitting.
    Wow. Child! Yes.

  5. How cool! I work in medical publishing and work with JAMA on a regular basis. And Mr. Baldwin seems like one cool dude, you deserve that compliment!

  6. Wowza! You didn't need to tell me who James Baldwin is -- and now whenever I think of him or hear his name or read his writing, I will quickly think of you.

    That is utterly fantastic, and it's so well-deserved. Now you need to submit to The Bellevue Review. I think it's a powerhouse literay magazine with wonderful medical narrative.

  7. Have I told you lately how proud I am of you? Of course, I am and I have!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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